You Say You Want a Revolution?

Photo by Echo Base 2000

As usual, when there’s a massacre of innocent people, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tries to hide behind the image of a deer hunter or a sports shooter aiming at a target. They’re just law-abiding citizens exercising their rights under the Second Amendment to own a gun, right?

Does anyone believe that hunters and sportsmen want to amass an arsenal of AK-47s, high-capacity magazines and hollow-point bullets because they’re fond of deer soup or because they enjoy turning paper targets into confetti?

We don’t need any more laws governing guns, they say. We just need to enforce the laws that are already on the books.

Okay, how about 18 U.S.C. § 2385? This federal law says: “Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government...Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.”

Since Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, gun sales have spiked, as have threats against Obama’s life. Right-wingers thought it was cute a few years ago to show up at Obama’s speeches carrying big, scary looking weapons.

Wayne LaPierre, longtime mouthpiece for the NRA, said after the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 that federal agents were “jack-booted government thugs” who wear “Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” Lifelong NRA member George H.W. Bush resigned in response to his crazy comments.

Ted “Cat Scratch Fever” Nugent said at last summer’s NRA convention in St. Louis: “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” He also compared the Obama administration to coyotes who needed to be shot. Not amused, the U.S. Secret Service paid Nugent a visit, but no charges were filed.

Maybe it’s time these “jack-booted government thugs” stopped being so liberal with guys like Nugent and LaPierre. There are about four million members of the NRA, most of whom are perfectly decent, law-abiding citizens, and there are millions of other gun owners who are not members of the NRA at all. But within the so-called gun culture are a certain number of crazies who find the violent, armed overthrow of the government necessary, desirable and proper, and are happy to advocate, abet, advise, and teach it.

These people want no restrictions whatsoever on gun purchases, ammunition or magazines. They object to background checks, waiting periods or the registration of weapons. They don’t want to hunt deer or protect their families; they want to have the capability of taking on the Marines. When they say they want to “take our country back” by “Second Amendment remedies” if necessary, they aren’t talking about having a voter registration drive.

I’m also reminded of the lapel button in the ‘90s that said about President Bill Clinton, “Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?” That was almost 20 years ago. How long is such rhetoric to be considered acceptable? Was it ever?

While the NRA believes there should be no restrictions on the Second Amendment whatsoever, there are numerous restrictions on the First Amendment. Topping the list is cheering for the overthrow of our own government. It’s long past time to unambiguously enforce it.

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